Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Honey, it's for you. It's your medication calling.

3-D Television, LCD screens in microwaves, refrigerators that let you know when you're out of milk, and now this product being rolled out by Express scripts.  An electronic pill container.

The container—actually a high-tech top for a standard pill bottle called a "GlowCap"—is equipped with a wireless transmitter that plugs into the wall. When it is time for a dose of medicine, the GlowCap emits a pulsing orange light; after an hour, the gadget starts beeping every five minutes, in arpeggios that become more complicated and insistent. After that, the device can set off an automated telephone or text message reminder to patients who fail to take their pills. It also can generate email or letters reporting to a family member or doctor how often the medication is taken.


Some Thoughts:

1. I see that our boomers are entering the age that there's a greater probability of forgetfulness.

2. Likewise, this would be useful for men who don't have the most effective reminder system to date: Their spouses. I know that works for my father. Perhaps we could incorporate voice recordings of a wife yelling "Don't forget to take your Xanax."  On second thought, scratch that. It could lead to an overdose.

3. This could be very embarrassing for some medications: "Dad? What's Cialis?"

4. Psychiatrists need to be aware of this, lest we start hospitalizing patients who report that  their medications are talking to them .

5. Novartis' edible chip in a pill  "that sends a signal to the patient and designated individuals," sounds very cool, but a tad scary. Who would need to know that information other than those who wanted enforced compliance? Given the number of states that have been rewriting their laws on outpatient committment, this certainly can create some ethical issues.

6. Play the clip on the automated telephone message. It seems a bit, I don't know, something.


tracy said...

i would l o v e to report to my Psychiatrist (in Glen Allen) that "My pills are talking to me!".
As if he doean't have enough to handle already....

tracy said...

Do you have a public E-Mail?

Thank you,

Doc said...


Thanks for stopping by. I know the Glen Allen area quite well.

Certainly, it would cause some eyes to raise if you did report it to him.

Sorry, I do not have a public E-mail. I would be doing a disservice to anyone writing to me via that route, as I am not that tech savvy, and not online all that frequently. I can barely keep up (some would say that I don't!) with personal email, and those from a handful of patients.

Again, thanks, and come 'round anytime!